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View Full Version : The Purpose-Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?



macro
03-16-2005, 01:55 PM
Have any of you read this book (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0310205719/104-1282768-3719900) or do you have plans to? I haven't read it, but it has gotten a lot of attention the past few days, since Ashley Smith, the woman who came face to face with accused killer Brian Nichols, reported that she read it to Nichols while his captive, and that it led to her release.

It is ranked #2 at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/new-for-you/top-sellers/-/books/all/ref=pd_dp_ts_b/104-1282768-3719900), and CNN's NewsNight (http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/aaron.brown/index.html) will devote an hour to it tonight at 10:00pm Eastern. (The CNN link will probably change each day, so it may be irrelevant after today - March 16.) The book is getting a lot of attention, both positive and negative, as the Amazon.com customer reviews will attest.

Redsland
03-16-2005, 02:12 PM
If woy is ever kidnapped, I hope it's by someone who likes hearing passages from The Baseball Encyclopedia.

:)

Johnny Footstool
03-16-2005, 02:17 PM
I read some of the Amazon.com reviews, and they play out like a less-intelligent version of the countless debates on faith and Christianity we've had here. Glib, bitter atheists and agnostics try to make clever jokes and insults; indignant Christians make beatific pronouncements, then try to make clever riposts.

Personally, I think the book looks like yet another possible tool to provide direction for someone who is totally lost. One might also try the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, Dianetics, or any other self-help tome that teaches us to find direction by seeking a higher purpose in life.

zombie-a-go-go
03-16-2005, 02:22 PM
Dianetics

Mmm... culty sea-org goodness. Have you had your e-meter reading today? :RedinDC:

Johnny Footstool
03-16-2005, 02:29 PM
Have you had your e-meter reading today?

I'm saving up my cash for just that. I'm still $23,000 short.

zombie-a-go-go
03-16-2005, 02:31 PM
I'm saving up my cash for just that. I'm still $23,000 short.

:MandJ:

pedro
03-16-2005, 02:32 PM
I take my cues from...

Black Diamond: The Unauthorized Biography of Kiss

but that's just me.

traderumor
03-16-2005, 03:26 PM
The Purpose Driven Life is a book designed primarily to help guide believers to understanding God's purpose for their life. The related materials are used by McChurch's to attempt to get the same results that the pastor who wrote it got when used with his congregation. Not my cup of tea as a believer, but that's what it is. I'm sure there is some material in there that is evangelistic in nature or that an unbeliever would understand and relate to.

I also look for this Ashley to be making the barnstorming miracle tour on the Christian testimony circuit next. Cynical? Ya think.... :mhcky21:

TRF
03-16-2005, 04:24 PM
Sun Tzu's the Art of War is all one needs.

SunDeck
03-17-2005, 11:07 AM
When I worked at the Main Library in Cincinnati, the department I worked in was Education and Religion. I used to skim just about every book that we bought for the collection, many of which were along the same lines. It's a cottage industry, telling people how to find a direction in their life and after two years of looking at the stuff, I learned that they all focus on just about the same thing, setting one's priorities. Determine what is important- one hopes it's not illegal, of course- then prioritize the rest of your life around keeping those important things central to your existence. From the perspective of books like the Purpose Driven Life, that means prioritizing along religious/sprirtiual lines, but I think there is a common thread between those books and, say, books on getting your financial life in order. Straighten up your priorities first, then take steps each day at achieving your goals.
Heck, I've even read books on clearing out your clutter that seem the same.

Anyway, there's no harm in reading this one. However, I do have a problem with seeing this, or any other of the books like it (of which there are dozens each year...TD Jakes, Iyanla Van Zant, Dr. Phil come to mind) as THE answer. Different strokes for different folks, you know.

macro
03-17-2005, 11:33 AM
Sundeck, it's amazing how one book here and there seems to catch on so widely when there are probably scores of other books offering the same advice that got ignored. It kinda reminds me of the South Beach Diet, which really doesn't say anything that you couldn't have found said other places already.

traderumor, I had never heard the term "McChurch" before. Funny stuff! :MandJ: Sadly, though, "billions and billions" (okay, maybe not that many, but I wanted to work the McDonald's slogan in here somewhere :D ) are being served by these processed churches. Gosh the analogies are endless!

SunDeck
03-17-2005, 11:47 AM
Sundeck, it's amazing how one book here and there seems to catch on so widely when there are probably scores of other books offering the same advice that got ignored. It kinda reminds me of the South Beach Diet, which really doesn't say anything that you couldn't have found said other places already.


There definitely seems to be a formula that works. What amazes me is that people seem to never get tired of being told how to live their lives. That's got to be a good thing, people wanting to improve themselves. At the same time, maybe the institutional vehicles for learning how to live one's life are being replaced by the individual pursuit. People may not belong to congregations anymore, but that doesn't mean they don't want direction, purpose and fulfillment. The problem is that on an individual level we don't feel qualified to make the right decisions. Pastor and doctrine replaced by Self Help Guru, so to speak.

Johnny Footstool
03-17-2005, 12:25 PM
What amazes me is that people seem to never get tired of being told how to live their lives. That's got to be a good thing, people wanting to improve themselves.

I'm not amazed that people are looking for ways to improve themselves. What's amazing to me is that when people learn that it takes effort to actually improve themselves, they quickly get bored and return to their routine. Then two years later, they find themselves unhappy again, so they shell out another $25 for another easy answer.

SunDeck
03-17-2005, 12:38 PM
I'm not amazed that people are looking for ways to improve themselves. What's amazing to me is that when people learn that it takes effort to actually improve themselves, they quickly get bored and return to their routine. Then two years later, they find themselves unhappy again, so they shell out another $25 for another easy answer.

Thus, validating a central theme of the self help industry...it doesn't work unless you stick to it.

traderumor
03-18-2005, 09:33 AM
traderumor, I had never heard the term "McChurch" before. Funny stuff! :MandJ: Sadly, though, "billions and billions" (okay, maybe not that many, but I wanted to work the McDonald's slogan in here somewhere :D ) are being served by these processed churches. Gosh the analogies are endless!

The quality of the food is about the same, too. :gac:

traderumor
03-18-2005, 09:37 AM
Thus, validating a central theme of the self help industry...it doesn't work unless you stick to it.Or a more central theme...folks don't stick to it because the substance is lacking and the power to change does not come from within, so the books don't really help (temporary quick fixes are no help at all) and folks need to buy another book. If the books really helped, just like the diet books, there goes the industry. After all, why publish a self-help book that really helps? Who's gonna buy more self-help books if everyone gets fixed?

Johnny Footstool
03-18-2005, 10:34 AM
Or a more central theme...folks don't stick to it because the substance is lacking and the power to change does not come from within, so the books don't really help (temporary quick fixes are no help at all) and folks need to buy another book. If the books really helped, just like the diet books, there goes the industry. After all, why publish a self-help book that really helps? Who's gonna buy more self-help books if everyone gets fixed?

I think a lack of substance is highly responsible for people quitting many self-help schemes. But I think human nature also plays a huge part. We like our routines, and we don't want to change them.

Even when the plan has substance, not everyone will stick with it. Lots of people go to church on the holidays, or when they are going through a crisis, or when the church has an old-fashioned "Revival" (are Baptists the only one who do that?). Then a month or two later, they go back to sleeping in on Sunday.

traderumor
03-18-2005, 11:22 AM
I think a lack of substance is highly responsible for people quitting many self-help schemes. But I think human nature also plays a huge part. We like our routines, and we don't want to change them.

Even when the plan has substance, not everyone will stick with it. Lots of people go to church on the holidays, or when they are going through a crisis, or when the church has an old-fashioned "Revival" (are Baptists the only one who do that?). Then a month or two later, they go back to sleeping in on Sunday.Very true, Johnny.

As for "Revival," I used to go to a Baptist church, and yes they had a couple of weeks a year of week long meetings. I think its roots are in the tent "camp meetings" from the early Pentecostal days. I now worship with a Grace Brethren church (Anabaptist) and they do not do the week long meeting thing.

SunDeck
03-18-2005, 02:25 PM
Or a more central theme...folks don't stick to it because the substance is lacking and the power to change does not come from within, so the books don't really help (temporary quick fixes are no help at all) and folks need to buy another book.

If you say so...I never read any of them all the way through. :MandJ:

WebScorpion
03-19-2005, 01:34 AM
I find the one book that embodies what life is truly about is "Curious George Rides A Bike". You can mess up your job, break all your toys, and generally create havoc in every life you touch, but if you save another helpless creature everything will be alright. :D